The LA marathon’s up hills were many and long, but the overall experience is very hard to beat
This year's LA Marathon had the perfect timing considering my busy running schedule. The Olympics qualifying for US was planned to take place in February, which pushed the Los Angeles Marathon back a month; from March to February.
My flight landed in Los Angeles Friday afternoon, February 12, two days before the race. Two days is not a long time, but enough to get my body fairly adjusted to time difference. The starting point of the race is Dodger Stadium, where baseball's LA Dodgers play their home games. The finishing line was on the other side of the city right on the beach in Santa Monica.
When you register for the race, you select the bus transfer to the starting line. You have two options; either to get a bus from LA or the one from Santa Monica. I love the beach so I had booked a hotel called Travelogde located about 3 km from the Santa Monica Pier.
If you stay in Santa Monica and want to get to the LA city center it’s easy, but there is also much to do in your close surroundings. Santa Monica has plenty of great restaurants for all taste buds. After a relaxing Saturday I had picked up my race kit and bib number at the well-organized Expo. On Sunday, I had the alarm set for 04:00 and started the day with a 3-kilometer brisk walk to the bus transfer.
The area around Dodger Stadium was very busy but well organized in true American style. Even though we arrived well in advance of the starting shot, time passed by quickly eating, drinking, absorbing in the atmosphere and checking out the amazingly cool stadium. After leaving my small bag with some extra clothing, it was eventually time to get ready for the start. The US national anthem echoed in the crowd and then the sound of the starting pistol. The marathon started with a very long hill, far from the last hill we would encounter in the race ...
The track, which apparently was changed a few years ago, went through downtown LA, to continue pass all the famous landmarks; "Walk of Fame", Hollywood, Sunset Strip, West Hollywood, Rodeo Drive, Santa Monica Boulevard and Westwood. The up hills were many and long, so not the route where you break your personal marathon record, but the experience is hard to beat.
The last 10 kilometers, after Brentwood and the long stretch of along the San Vicente, you reach Ocean Avenue and Palisades Park. The race finish with some well-deserved downhill running towards Santa Monica. Along many parts of the track you received great support from the spectators. People had made cheerful signs, shouted out their encouragements and made high-fives with the runners, which of course made the experience even better. The last part was truly magical when the crowd shouted, applauded and cheered like mad!
I crossed the finishing line with a big smile on my face and goosebumps all over my body. Straight after the finishing, we were offered a lots of nice American food and drinks. Photographers were ready to help you get a memory of the day, medals were awarded, massage was available for sore bodies and the service was overall flawless. It should also be mentioned that the stations along the course were very generous in terms of refreshments.
I walked down to the classic landmark, the Santa Monica pier. Once at the beach, I jumped straight into the refreshing water and then feel asleep on the warm sand. To summarize LA Marathon – this is a fantastic race to run! If you haven’t been in Los Angeles before I recommend you to stay for at least a week to experience the city - there is so much to see and do in Lala-land.